So I’m having a conversation with my more stubborn tri-lead MCs of the Casebooks. Goes a little something like this:
“I can fire you, you know,” I told him.
Jay Vincent Pedregon’s oh-so-blasé response went to his maniured nails. “Ha. You’ve been sayin’ that since I’ve known you–what, 1998, thereabouts?”
“Doesn’t excuse you being a real creep recently, but I think I figured out why you are.”
“Do tell, Ms. Dick.”
“That’s Missye or Big Sis to you, thank you; I am in mixed audience. It’s because I’m seeing another side of me, ever-present consciously, that’s also in you. It’s another antechamber of you making itself known to me.”
“My consciousness side is?” Jay Vincent asked.
“Yep,” I answered. “That gooshy-gooey stuff making you, you, you didn’t want me knowing about, but it–your mind past your mind–wanted me to know you because I’m knowing a deeper me. But the jerk side of you, it’s okay. We authors tolerate that mess more than necessary. We’ll pick up the esoteric topic later. Now I need to explain why my title reflects this conversation. Toodles.”
Jay Vincent waved, winked, wisped off. And true-to-his-d*ck form, gave me the finger. Ugh. Boys.
Apologies for the post’s opening title. It’s an aspect of the writing life, cast included, I hate dealing with in complicated, complex ways that’s hard to sort. I’ll do my best to explain.
Note: This post went out prematurely. The following is the updated and further edited version of this entry. Apologies for the inconvenience.
These past couple years were rough on all of us, but some of us (okay, me) felt it more than others. I needed a much-wanted breather from the grind of books, editing, characters, thinking myself out of plot tangles. And did I mention life crept in with its shadows and cockroaches and other vermin goodies the time in writing school doesn’t mention in the books, exams, pop quizzes, and reports back home? I kid, but you know what I mean.
You know what you like and don’t like, but something deeper within is pushing on all of us to be d*cks. We authors, poets, essayists, etc. compose music with words in turns-of-phrases, metaphors, aliterations, imagery. But if something’s or someone’s bothering you, whatever it is, you HAVE to be a d*ck and let it out. Sometimes that release isn’t well-orchestated–or well-received. Ordered books go to the wrong address; you have a breakdown at your daughter’s graduation party. Worse: the books don’t go out at all; the pig at the party refuses to accept responsibility or his atrocities. More worse: they’re the wrong book with an author’s similar name and/or title; he openly admits he enjoys that drepravity he’s into, or worse still: the copies are printed upside down, they arrive wet, muddied, smoke-tinged, or in another language you’ve not seen since college.
Or worse still: he literally got away with murder in the form of dismissed charge(s), time served, no charges ever filed–or no evidence found to convict.
It’s a meltdown years in the making, your body, soul, writing life, reader’s mental and emotional bookshelves, and so forth, can’t handle One. Second. More.
So your favorite go-to author’s been doing a cracker-jack job of helping you forget the doldrums to release your gorgeous minds to his beautiful imegery, the plot’s tight, the character’s badass as usual . . .and then this story weasels in a topic you’ve been struggling with, generationally perhaps, in your world. Maybe undealt with before today, or you’re in the middle of that emotional avalanche–you discard or burn that title, vowing never to read this author again. Congratulations. Your groaning-under-its-own-weight bookshelves collapsed from so many TBRs (to-be-reads) there the author triggered in you, unbeknownst to him or her. Maybe s/he was being a d*ck that way, but not purposefully. Or maybe they were, but used the only means to convey that in how they only knew to do: through somebody else’s story.
I was reminded of this in the teledrama The Temptations last night. Lead singer/Temps co-founder Otis Williams, at the time of recording the extended-play “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” took issue with the songwriter’s reference to the 3rd of September. Only Brian Dozier (of Holland-Dozier-Holland fame) hadn’t any idea Williams’s father died that day; Williams had never told anyone this. The songwriter told Otis to use that anger while recording the song, since it’s so–and suddenly–personal.
The rest, as they say, is history.
We’re all human. We’re gonna make mistakes, great and small, to ger to the gold in mind expansion, mental, emotiona, professional, or familiar growth. Hell, even the Almighty did with the Flood and made a rainbow promise that would never happen again. Readers, when you see themes or topics in your favorite titles hitting closer than expected, or they make the character do what you’d never dreamed s/he’d do, in a way, the authors were being d*cks to broach topics or aspects of the character(s) that needed to be handled. Even the most even-keeled personalities among us are d*cks; you wouldn’t have gotten this age or stage in life without doing so to a degree. And writers: if your stories and plots are limp, raggedy from overuse, or just downright overdone ad nauseum, then be a d*ck and do something completely not your style, not you, just not, period. An interethnic relationship–I know of a Black man/Japanese woman union’s kid; even during the electric 1980s, this was still frowned upon–maybe, for the next book plot. Or today’s strange times, possibly–have a cast member refuse to go with whatever the stream of conventional thought is in your covid story, regardless what it might cost you and/or the cast. It takes a proud d*ck to stand on your moral compass; history proves this. It takes a d*ck attitude to test your cast, your beliefs and principles, even against what you’ve always known to be truthful and factual. If this means you’re a d*ck in someone else’s eyes for this position . . .then you are, and there you are. Gotta crack eggs to make an omlette. Gotta be a d*ck to get things done, mountains moved. In the quiet of the night, even knowing Jay Vincent Pedregon, I finally caught by that d*ck by his tail.
Happy reading and happy writing, always.